Press Releases
10/26/2022 | Suffolk, VA

ODU & JMU Athletics Formalize ‘Royal Rivalry’ with Challenge from TowneBank

The athletics departments at James Madison and Old Dominion Universities announced a unique partnership today with TowneBank, which will amplify school pride between the universities. The alliance coincides with the long-time state peers rekindling a decades-old rivalry steeped in tradition and memorable moments across all shared sport programs as they transitioned together into the Sun Belt Conference beginning with the 2022-23 academic year. 

The TowneBank Royal Rivalry Challenge will elevate the excitement and visibility of approximately 20 annual head-to-head competitions between the athletic programs across all sports. The moniker derives from the royalty implied in the “Dukes” and “Monarchs” nicknames and the presence of crowns in various logos of both schools. 
At the end of the 2022-2023 school year, the school that earns the most points will hoist the Royal Rivalry trophy, currently under design by students in both schools’ art departments. Points are awarded for head-to-head competition or for the best finish in mutual conference championship events in sports where head-to-head competition does not occur. Half points are granted in case of a tie. Both regular season and postseason matches are included in head-to-head calculations. The universities are in discussions to award additional points based on academic achievements and competitions between the two schools, still to be determined. School officials will share those details as they unfold.
“Competitions against Old Dominion have been a key part of our history, and we’re excited that they will be an important component of our future,” JMU Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne said. “Nearly every JMU sports program has memorable moments against the Monarchs, and the Royal Rivalry will heighten interest in new moments to be made. We’re excited for this partnership and for our shared future with Old Dominion in the Sun Belt.”
“The chance to have a strong in-state rival again is one of the best things about joining the Sun Belt Conference,” said Dr. Wood Selig, ODU athletic director. “Now that we will play every year, we rekindle a spirited sports rivalry that brings together students and alumni from across the Commonwealth.”
The TowneBank Royal Rivalry Challenge launched officially in September with matchups in field hockey and men’s and women’s soccer. In October, the schools faced off in women’s swimming and their first-ever volleyball meetup – a doubleheader. JMU has the current advantage with 4.5 points to ODU’s 1.5 points, with a half point earned by each team for a tie in men’s soccer. The squads will renew their highly anticipated football rivalry before a sold-out crowd on November 12 at S.B. Ballard Stadium in Norfolk to conclude regular season fall sports.
TowneBank has agreed to an initial three-year commitment to sponsor the challenge, a partnership secured by LEARFIELD’s JMU Sports Properties and Playfly’s ODU Sports Properties. “We are thrilled to share our name with the renewal of this relationship between ODU and JMU,” said G. Robert Aston, Jr., executive chairman of TowneBank. “We are strong supporters of college sports, and in this case, we recognize the added opportunity to promote these stellar academic institutions with a strong alumni base here in Hampton Roads and throughout the Commonwealth, many of whom find a professional home or a banking relationship at TowneBank.”

Royal Rivalry Schedule

The Royal Rivalry trophy will be awarded at the end of each school year and remain with the winning university for the next academic year. The scheduled games during the 2022-2023 academic year between JMU and ODU are:

Date Sport Site Result
09/02/2022 Field Hockey ODU ODU, 6-1
09/22/2022 Women’s Soccer JMU JMU, 1-0
09/25/2022 Men’s Soccer ODU Tie, 0-0
10/07/2022 Volleyball JMU JMU, 3-0
10/08/2022 Volleyball JMU JMU, 3-0
10/08/2022 Women’s Swimming GWU JMU, 210-83
11/12/2022 Football ODU JMU, 37-3
12/31/2022 Women’s Basketball JMU  
02/02/2023 Men’s Basketball ODU  
02/16/2023 Men’s Basketball JMU  
02/18/2023 Women’s Basketball ODU  
04/01/2023 Women’s Lacrosse JMU  

Other sports in which both schools compete, but whose full schedules
have yet to be announced, are baseball, golf, tennis, and swimming.


About JMU Athletics

James Madison University is a NCAA Division I institution located in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Nicknamed the Dukes, JMU’s Intercollegiate Athletics program sponsors 18 sports, six male and 12 female, with approximately 450 student-athletes and an overall student enrollment of 22,166. The Dukes are a member of the East Division of the Sun Belt Conference in most sports, with an overall conference footprint covering the southeastern United States from Virginia to Texas. Lacrosse competes as an affiliate member of the American Athletic Conference.

About ODU Athletics

In support of the Old Dominion University mission, the Department of Athletics recruits and develops a diverse population of highly skilled student-athletes that compete at the NCAA Division I level. Our commitment is to enable student-athletes to reach their full potential academically, athletically, and as citizens. We enrich the campus experience and serve as a gateway to the University by enhancing its visibility and reputation.

About TowneBank

Founded in 1999, TowneBank is a company built on relationships, offering a full range of banking and other financial services, with a focus of serving others and enriching lives. Dedicated to a culture of caring, Towne values all employees and members by embracing their diverse talents, perspectives, and experiences.

Today, TowneBank operates over 40 banking offices throughout Hampton Roads and Central Virginia, as well as Northeastern and Central North Carolina – serving as a local leader in promoting the social, cultural, and economic growth in each community. Towne offers a competitive array of business and personal banking solutions, delivered with only the highest ethical standards. Experienced local bankers providing a higher level of expertise and personal attention with local decision-making are key to the TowneBank strategy. TowneBank has grown its capabilities beyond banking to provide expertise through its controlled divisions and subsidiaries that include Towne Wealth Management, Towne Insurance Agency, Towne Benefits, TowneBank Mortgage, TowneBank Commercial Mortgage, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Towne Realty, Towne 1031 Exchange, LLC, and Towne Vacations. With total assets of $16.86 billion as of June 30, 2022, TowneBank is one of the largest banks headquartered in Virginia.

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